Daily #F1 News and Comment: Saturday 19th October 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day.

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Rossi to drive in FP1 in Austin (04:30)

How to make friends and get elected (04:30)

Williams go one better (04:30) Updated 14:20

The day Jenson will never forget (04:30)

Mansell blasts 2014 weight limit (04:50)

No Toro Rosso for Vandoorne (05:30)

Alonso’s next attempt (05:30)

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Rossi to drive in FP1 in Austin

The news of Alex Rossi taking over for FP1 in Austin is not altogether shocking news. From a public relations side, it helps to highlights the Caterham brand in America as they look to promote their range of sports cars. Furthermore, it gives Rossi more exposure in his home nation after the GP2 series will have finished in Abu Dhabi.

The young American feels there is a need for an American driver on the grid for F1 to work in the USA. He said, “I think that it will struggle until there’s an American driver, just because American people are so patriotic, they’re not going to come out or they’re not going to spend a year watching or cheering for a German, British or Spanish driver it’s not how it’s going to work.”

Having made 2 practice session appearances for Caterham, at Canada this year and in Spain 2012, he is clearly seen as a project for the future. He replaced Ma Qing Hua in their GP2 setup, managing to finish 3rd on his debut for the team; demonstrating his potential. So could this have ramifications for Heikki Kovalainen?

The Finn had been bullish about his chances of a drive in 2014. Only last month, the former Renault and McLaren driver had stated how he thought he was close to securing a seat. But this award of a Friday drive could be a nail in the coffin of his F1 career. Rossi is an upcoming talent in Formula One, whereas Kovalainen, at 31, has had more than enough opportunity to prove himself.

Incidently, it’s his birthday today. Happy Birthday Heikki!

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How to make friends and get elected

The breath of fresh air that David Ward brought to the FIA when he announced he would run for presidency was clear for all to see. His straight talking manner and clear cut manifesto meant people had no questions over the direction he intended for the sport to take or how he wanted the body to be run. So as more questions over the partiality of the FIA panel investigating Jean Todt’s tactics in the election battle so far, Ward must be sitting back in his armchair rubbing his hands together with how the race is unfolding.

The alleged wrongdoings occurred at FIA meetings earlier in the year as the Frenchman rallied for votes from the nations attending, getting them to sign mass ‘support letters’ to secure their vote. Todt has denied he has done anything wrong, stating, he “never held a gun to someone’s head.” However, I’m sure we can all relate the feeling of a high pressure situation and the difficulty of going against the group consensus.

Members of the panel investigating his actions have close links with his family with others having already excluded themselves due to a conflict of interests. Then there is the issue of the who should have the final say on the verdict. The normal process would be Todt to decide, but since he is clearly not in a position to do so, it makes the whole situation rather farcical.

All the while, Ward can do no wrong as he continues to campaign and watch the madness occur around him. It appears the way to make friends and get elected is very simple. Point out the opposition’s weaknesses and wait while the dominos continues to fall.

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Williams go one better

Williams F1 team posted this on Twitter yesterday. That’s one impressive taxi ride…

Embedded image permalink

As was pointed out… and rightly so, where is Maldonado? Well, seems he’s been spotted now… rumours may be true that he is leaving Williams after all!

MaldaCash

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The day Jenson will never forget

On this day in F1, Jenson Alexander Lyons Button became the 2009 World Champion, after finishing 5th at the Brazilian GP. The last champion before the “Vettel era” had made 169 starts before securing the title. This is the second most behind who? (Post your answers below)

At least we know this year there will be no repeat of Jenson’s blast of ‘We are the Champions’ down the team radio. Vettel celebrates in an entirely different manner, with the orchestrated announcement from Christian Horner. Which would you prefer to hear?
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Mansell blasts 2014 weight limit

Nigel Mansell has called the 2014 weight limit on the car and driver a ‘disgrace’. The man from Worcestershire is not known for understating how he feels about something, and this appears to be no different.

Mansell said, “It’s wrong. They are not jockeys.” Does the former World Champion have a point? A driver who carries more weight will instantly have more problems in meeting the weight limit than one who is weighs less. McLaren already commented on the problems Nico Hulkenberg would face next year with the new restrictions. However, these seem strange when they already are forced to build a car for a driver who is roughly the same weight in Button.

Furthermore, wouldn’t this be the perfect time for a taller (and consequently heavier) driver to exit the sport? Congratulations to Mark Webber whose exit from the sport comes at the perfect time. Having struggled against his shorter (and lighter) teammate for almost 4 years, now would seem like the perfect time to leave the Formula as the disadvantage will only become greater.

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No Toro Rosso for Vandoorne

McLaren youngster, Stoffel Vandoorne, confirmed in an interview with Belgian Newspaper, Le Soir, that he has been offered the Toro Rosso seat of Daniel Ricciardo, who is set to transfer to the ‘mother ship’ team, Red Bull, for 2014.

“It would have only been for a single season and I’m looking for a long-term prospect” the youngster explains his decision to turn down the offer and stay in the McLaren fold. “I’m convinced McLaren is the best option for the future.”

It appears the Toro Rosso Chainsaw massacre of 2012 (below), which saw Sebastian Buemi and Jaime Alguesuari axed in one go by Red Bull advisor, Helmut Marko, has affected the views of potential candidates for the team. It seems it will be Antonio Felix da Costa who takes the vacant seat for 2014.

TexasHelmetMass

The 2012 Toro Rosso Chainsaw Massacre

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Alonso’s next attempt

After the buyout of professional cycling team Euskatel-Euskadi, and with it Fernando Alonso’s dream of establishing an Asturian cycling team failed, the Spaniard plans to do it from scratch.

Instead of buying out an existing team he plans to build up a completely new team, which is supposed to be ready for the 2015 season. The presentation of his plan will take place in 2014 – on the first of the rest days of the Tour de France.

Alonso confirms that first sponsors have already been signed, but explains that it isn’t any of the sponsors with which he already works in Formula 1. “I think we should keep business in F1 and cycling separated,” the Spaniard explains.

If anything, he’ll have the attention of the media, that’s for sure…

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44 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Saturday 19th October 2013

  1. The longest wait for a title must have been Nigel Mansell – debut in 1980 and title in 1992 – that’s a long wait…

    • He is actually from Worcestershire, I grew up in a town called Upton Upon Severn and he was born in a village called Ryall about mile down the road, I went to school with his niece which was cool, but we lact school in the June of 1992 so didn’t get to celebrate the championship win with her.

  2. ‘Great drive Seb great drive, you’ve won the Japanese Grand Prix’ (no shit)…..doesn’t Horner just make one want to vomit with his PR driven puke speak……

  3. Andalusian? I suppose Alonso’s cycling team would be Asturian (where he is from)). Both start with A, like Aberdeen and Ashford (WTF there are not many southern cities starting by A in Britain).

  4. I wish Alex Rossi well in F1 but I can’t agree with his opinions about the need for American drivers in order to turn Americans on to F1. That’s just PR talk. There have been American drivers in F1 since the 50’s, and some have done very well, yet F1 is still apparently unpopular in the States – it might help when an American is challenging for the championship, but that’s temporary.
    Also consider that most drivers in the IndyCar series are not American, yet Americans still cheer for the ‘interlopers’.
    I would suggest the problem for most Americans in supporting F1 is that it simply isn’t an American series, over which they have any control – and that’s unlikely to change.
    However much support is generated for the race(s) in the States I would imagine few of the new fans would continue to follow the ‘foreign’ events.

    I also wonder about Bernie’s desire, for example, for a Brazilian driver in F1, to boost sales of Brazilian goods worldwide and bring in Brazilian sponsorship – he’s just thinking of himself…! Surely a company will get better publicity on a successful car, than just any car driven by a Brazilian. Consider Petronas seem happy to have their name on a Mercedes without the need for a Malaysian driver… It’s a pity Bernie’s surname doesn’t start with an ‘S’ – much more appropriate initials… 😉

    • Sorry BlackJackFan I disagree completely. There have been only two American F1 champions. This is just a flash in the pan in the history of F1 and the world was very different back then. Media coverage of F1 in the US was not available like today with the internet, vast number of digital TV channels, not to mention social media. Therefore exposing new people to the sport was just not accomplished at all back in the days. Today F1 can make it a goal to gain new fans in the US with a sustained modern marketing effort only possible if there is also a good American driver IN A GOOD CAR. No one wants to see someone marketed heavily finishing always p16 or 17. It would do more harm than good as Americans don’t like elitist sports to begin with.

      • Hi AJ… I’m perfectly happy to be disagreed with and, if you’re right, I can only say that’s good all round.

        Your comment: “. . . if there is also a good American driver IN A GOOD CAR. No one wants to see someone marketed heavily finishing always p16 or 17. It would do more harm than good as Americans don’t like elitist sports to begin with.”
        I actually meant to say the same thing… so we’re perhaps more in agreement than you first thought…

        Can I ask if you’re American…? If so your input here is appreciated. I’ve spent a lot of time all over the States but I cannot claim to speak ‘for’ Americans…
        Thanks for responding.

        • BlackJackFan, I was born in South America, childhood spent between NYC and Madrid, my life is now back in NYC. So I’ve been around the world and am part of all those cultures which is something I’m proud of. I see things differently than most. I would glady have more conversations with you about what its really like here in the states for F1.

      • As to your third last sentence; seems to put Rossi fairly firmly back in his box.

      • The problem, is that openwheel racing in general is not very popular in America. There was a surge in interest, when the reigning F1 world champion went to Americaland and creamed the lot in America’s premier openwheel series CART in 1993, but Satan … err.. I mean Tony George killed openwheel racing, when he divided openwheel racing in ‘murrica with the establishment of the IRL. Since then most Americans have taken their interest to NASCRAP.

        • Fascinating theory… It never occurred to me people might be put off by the sight of open wheels… 😉 – the opposite of open arms, and open wallets… 🙂

        • I agree. CART racing was fantastic at one point, with teams like Penske building their own chassis, and in the case of Penske, springing the surprise Mercedes pushrod engine at Indy. The split took the wind out of both CART and the IRL and turned a lot of fans off. Once a fan is lost it’s really difficult to get them back, and the acrimony between CART and the IRL was pretty vicious and self destructive.

          I’ve been an F1 fan for more years than I like to remember, and have attended F1 races both in America and abroad. The marketing that is being done (or rather the lack thereof) in the States is not going to generate much fan interest. The races are difficult to find on television, the start times totally suck, and the commercials during the broadcast break up the flow of the race so much it is hard to watch. I watch all the races on Sky or the BBC, not American TV. Plus, Americans (at least this one) HATE the finger.

  5. I read the Alonso story… apparently he also wants to bring the best of Formula One to cycling, and vice versa. The article I read says it means technology, research, marketing, promotion, new tools such as telemetry, a medical centre etc. The intention is to do something new and avoid the problem of doping.

    Yet, if rumours are to be believe he wants to have Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso and Filippo Pozzato on his team… all ex dopers? And bringing technology to F1 is nothing new, ask Team Sky.

    Anyway, happy cycling Alonso 🙂

  6. And if we think that the tyres issue in F1 is a shameful thing, just see what they are doing tomorrow in Australia…. seems they are splitting the race in two and they will have to change cars sometime in the window that goes from lap 12 to lap 14.

    It would make a great show in F1, I think. Yes, I know they do not have two cars per pilot anymore. BTW, it would be even better if each team only had 3 cars and therefore only one of its drivers could do the second part of the race 😉 I guess the first half would be done with a knife between the teeth. Il Padrino would love that. Ha!

    • Thin end of the wedge; shame the German courts have been so flat-footed; should’ve had Eccles locked away by now.

      • I read that Bernie had the driver from the great train robbery on his books when be was a driver manager before he bought Brabham team. When this guy got out if prison he asked if Bernie would give him a job, Bernie said he couldn’t but discovered this guy had learned gold and silver smithing in jail and consequently made sine trophies fir Bernie, one if which is still awarded on a yearly basis to the promoter deemed to have done the best job during the season. (wish I knew the drivers name)
        Some say he was more instrumental in that in the master plan but I saw him asked in an interview and he smiled and said “i’d of done something bigger”

      • LOL – it just never occurred to me to refer to Bernie as ‘the famous Eccles’… Thanks.

      • @Peter – something not right about that. The fact they took so long to even lay the accusation seems weird, its as if they didn’t have the interest to go after him in the first place.

        I could see teflon Bernard slipping out of this one too……

  7. News reports have PDVSA pulling out of motorsports as of today. Too bad for Williams, as the money scramble is a difficult task these days.

    For drivers looking to land one of the many open seats the picture has changed in their favor…

    • first was the passing of Hugo, then I read of the shell game of converting their non-traded money into dollars (up to 7X premium) and it all seemed like a house of cards. the banter from Williams about the sponsorship and Pastor’s rantings raised my eyebrows even more. I knew something was up when Viso called in sick 2 nites ago for the IndyCar finale. today we hear of mass corruption, phoney signatures, and an immediate lockdown of all international motorsport sponsorship cash… ouch!

    • Yikes… well I wonder if Williams have received all of their money? If not…. could we have a reason for the photo above? Susie Wolff to do the final few races alongside Bottas? That would cement Massa in for next season as well (with 6m Euro backing atm), and perhaps hand Bottas a reprieve for 2014. In the meantime, some positive PR for running Susie in response to ditching Maldonado (and the likely backlash from him and Venezuela).

      It’ll be hard for Maldonado to continue from here, with no backing, a ditched contract with Williams….. And likely questions over corruption of funds from back home, along with the other drivers. Does this mean Viso, Cecotto, Gonzalez, Samin Gomez are all now out of racing? It’s not surprising, given the financial turmoil that the country is in, they need to sort that out first, similar to Argentina, before they can come back to racing.

    • It could be a boon for Massa – he can bring £5m for next year at the current time, rumoured to be Petrobras, a former Williams sponsor – it would go a little way to restoring the £30m lost from losing the Maldonado deal. PDVSA moving aside would free the way for a new oil sponsor.

      Budget falling from $145m to $108m however would make it harder to pay for the increasingly pricey Mercedes engines – perhaps this means an FP1 role for a Mercedes junior may open up to try and relieve some cost. Juncadella is closest to this for the team, but he just finished bottom of the Mercedes young drivers in DTM 2013. I would like to see Vietoris or Wickens, but who knows.

  8. Can anyone tell me how you know if your banned from commenting on ‘Joe Seward’ please.
    I’ve not been able to comment since I told him he was “stating the obvious” with the article he wrote and that as well as being “3 days later than everyone else” (other F1 sites) there was “nothing new in there and it could have easily been put together with cut and paste, and seemed to have no original content.”
    It really was a poorly written (well pooer than usual) Article and was just spouting what had already been picked to pieces by the mainstream sites over the previous 3 days. This guy thinks he is the cream of F1 journos and refers to his fellow reporters as “Hacks”(which I thought was an insult to a serious journalist) and thinks we give a shit that he does all this travelling and makes out it’s such an imposition. I’d give my left arm to be an F1 journo (cos I write with the other one lol) and travel the world with the greatest show on earth, even if I did only just make a living from it. Am I wrong or does coffee shop Joe come across as bitter? Plus now he doing that stupid online magazine thing, (which he claims is a permanent digital record of each event for only £29.99 subscription, which to be fair I can get 99% off free to view sites and save any articles I feel important anyway) he only puts crap in his regular free posts.

    Rant over, thanks,

    Would still like to know how to know for sure I’m banned.

    • I’d suggest if you’re attempting to comment and not seeing it come up in his comment section, then you’re banned.

  9. Anyone seen this report

    http://racing.ap.org/article/engines-idled-venezuelan-race-car-drivers

    It helps to explain why Williams don’t want Pastor anymore and are not holding back about his poor driving (they must have data to back it up) as they may not need to keep anyone from Venezuela happy. I think the recent Williams F1 managnent visit there has more to do with trying to even get what is owed to date rather than sorting out agreements for the future.

    • I agree, as if the invoice floating about on the net is true, then the next sponsorship package (£30m) would be due in 10 days, for 2014, hence Venezuela pulling the whole operation, probably to stop all of these payments going out (Viso etc.). The change in attitude is marked, as only on the 17th Maldonado was at the Williams partner day at Brands Hatch. When the contract is breached there will be a cancellation fee I’m sure, but it remains to be seen if Venezuela in its current state can/will pay such a fee for a contract that looks to be corrupted by someone at the present time.

      Rough for Maldonado – on a mistake free day he has a touch of Hamilton about him, see the 2012 Spanish GP. But time might have ran out. If he still has Nicolas Todt backing him though, he could still yet do something..

      • Would be a shame to loose him, we forget that Hamilton et al came into the sport when there was a large amount of testing going on so they got up to speed on the test track, instead of on race weekends. Maldonardo has had aprox 60 race meets in 3 years, that’s around 8hours driving each weekend tops, that’s 480hours, I bet Lewis had close to that in the 18months or so that McLaren where preparing him. It’s a big difference. I think in a decent car he could have a realistic chance to challenge at the front of the pack.

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